Sunday, November 7, 2010

As I've Gone

"As I've gone through life, I've found that your chances for happiness are increased if you wind up doing something that is a reflection of what you loved most when you were somewhere between nine and eleven years old."

- Walter Murch, The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film

* * *

So much of what fucks us is the inevitable layering of other's opinions about ourselves that it becomes impossible to see our original self and so we work and wander in another man's clothes. Life moves in bursts and jerks, in headlong rushes to cul de sacs, in mucilage stasis, in tentative steps because we have forgotten to be who we meant to be and instead fulfill the wishes and clammy fantasies of those closest to us.

Here, where it matters most, we are absent. We've traded what we're capable of for what is at hand.

* * *

"What did you do as a child that created timelessness, that made you forget time? There lies the myth to live by...  As an adult, you must rediscover the moving power of your life. Tension, a lack of honesty, and as sense of unreality come from following the wrong force in your life."

- Joseph Campbell

* * *

Growing up in the Catholic Church there were always prayers for vocations, the call to priesthood. It was the first place I heard the word and for most of my childhood assumed vocation was a Latin term for being a priest. And yet that really isn't a bad definition, is it?. Each of us, in our own ways, and in our own time are left to answer the one question Life has for all of us: how will you express the privilege of being alive? In other words, what is your vocation, your purpose in life? What will you give your life to?

There are no answers hidden in the pockets of another man's clothes.

* * *

They filed into the church draped in white robes. There were maybe six of them. All young men. All solemn. All moving toward the altar as a condemned man might walk to his death: resigned and free at the same time.

I was sitting with my mother and father towards the front of the church, St. Raymond's Cathedral, and stood on the kneeler in order to see better. The six men in white robes arrayed themselves in a semi-circle in front of the altar and then did something extraordinary - they lay face down on the ground with their arms spread wide. They lay that way for the bulk of the service. Chants and blessings and prayers and songs floated down to them on the floor as dust and snow falls without a wind to stir them and when they rose they were no longer young men, but priests.

It is impossible to know if these young men had always felt the call to the priesthood, or whether it became apparent with time. It is impossible to know if these young men were as good as their vows. It is impossible to know if they chose the priesthood out of fear, or expectation or simple devotion.  It is impossible to know any of this. I was barely a witness to their transformation, but I will attest that something was transformed, forever altered by the snow drifted prayers that covered them on the floor. We all wanted to believe in their vocation.

If them, why not you?

What is your vocation, my fucked friend?

Don't know? Don't worry, you once knew it, when you were a kid you knew it, only you didn't have the words for it. It will come to you if you are willing to shed the dead skins of other's expectations and live solely by the light in your head.

You enter the forest
at the darkest point,
where there is no path.

Where there is a way or path,
it is someone else's path.

You are not on your own path.

If you follow someone else's way,
you are not going to realize
your potential.

So quit reading this and get to it .


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